Interior Life (2)

I’ve been calling her once a week for over seven years now. There were a few others that I used to call too. One, a woman who was deemed a trouble-maker and was thus taken off the books, and another, a man, Irish and much given to ranting (though I was fond of him), who died a couple of days after returning to Ireland for his daughter’s wedding. It was such a trip, one that took an age for him to arrange (fretting mostly about who would care for his black labrador whilst he was away) and then he just up and died. He was home, though, some compensation I suppose, if there is any. So now it is just her. Once a week, every Friday. I’ve ‘seen’ her blossom, though not in the visual sense for we’ve never met. But she has grown bolder, braver and more willing, though it takes it toll upon her, to leave the house and meet new people. It’s just the two of them, her and her daughter. I can only imagine their home – cosy but perhaps a little austere. They don’t have much but they have enough. They live on their nerves the two of them, sensitive to the outside world and all the uncertainty it brings. I don’t think she has ever travelled abroad, maybe her daughter hasn’t either. She is not curious to do so, it seems. She belongs here. She just wants to be safe. She walks with the neighbour’s dog in tow. They have a cat that lives in the shed. A feral thing, it shuns the domestic. They have chickens and a cockerel who runs to greet the daughter’s car when she returns from work. They have a small garden with a greenhouse where they grow tomatoes. She talks of her carrots and runner beans. They are both particular about their food. I love to hear her voice, the lilt of it, the Welshness of it. She is gentle. She feels things deeply. She sometimes has nightmares. Her ex-husband and father of her child hurt her. She keeps things close. She always thanks me for calling. I value her, deeply.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.